domingo, 3 de febrero de 2013

8 Months Later...Brazil

First, an apology for abandoning this blog.  It happens.  I hope to revisit some of my experiences in Peru in the future, to wrap up my experience with the Peace Corps and write about some of my travels before leaving the country.  At this time, however, I am in Brazil and want to stick with the present.
Currently, I am in the city of Foz do Iguaçu, the gateway to Iguaçu Falls which it shares with Argentina.  It is hot (summer here in the southern hemisphere) and tropical.  Lush and green.  I am traveling with Shay, a good friend from home (Eugene, Oregon), and so far our travels have gone smoothly.
My first impressions of Brazil have been many.  The people are as varied and diverse as I had heard, with many European immigrants, and a mix of African and indigenous roots.  The people have been overall friendly and helpful despite our botched attempts to speak Portuguese.  Ah Portuguese, I just don´t speak it.  My Spanish has been useful to be sure, but much I don´t understand, and just can´t say.  I hope to learn more in this next month. 
Our first stop was Curitiba, a city known for it´s excellent recycling and sanitation systems, efficient public transport, and green spaces.  It lived up to all this as it appeared clean, easy to get around, and cosmopolitan.  We saw some interesting sights, such as the Botanical Gardens and the Oscar Niemeyer museum, which holds the largest collection of Brazlian art.
Brazil is huge, the 5th largest economy in the world, and it shows.  In just a few days we have already taken one 6 hour bus, and a 10 hour overnight to get to Foz, and we have only crossed one state line.  Especially when it comes to buses I can´t help but to compare Brazil to Peru.  At this moment I can say that while they compare in comfort (good seats that recline, leg space, etc), Peru could learn from the peace and quiet on a Brazilian bus.  No annoying movies featuring Van Damme or Stalone blasting while you try to sleep, not too hot, or too cold, and no meals at 11pm, that you don´t want anyway. 
The Brazil we have thus seen is leaning towards overdeveloped with it´s deluxe mini-malls and gourmet coffee.  The prices show too-it´s not cheap by any standards.  But it definitely has it´s own flavor.  The curvy language and curvy ladies, the flavorful foods and tropical fruits, and beautiful music which is becoming the soundtrack to our adventure.  We are definitely in Latin America (or whatever you decide Brazil is, Latin? Portuguese?) Perhaps, to borrow from the film title, it is its own `Sexy Beast.`